Scouts explore Atlantic’s graveyard

Published 8:10 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

What could be more exciting for a bunch of Boy Scouts than discovering a shipwreck?

The weekend after Hurricane Sandy passed by on its way to becoming Superstorm Sandy and trashing much of the Northeast, about 14 members of Suffolk’s Troop 16 got to feel like archeologists uncovering a long-lost shipwreck — for about half an hour.

Every year, boys who attended at least half of the previous year’s camping trips with the troop get to attend a camping committee retreat.

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They stay in the Corolla vacation home of a family friend of the Scoutmaster’s, according to Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff Ward.

Boy Scouts from Troop 16, Myles Copeland, Ryan Carr, Robert Gardner, Nolan Long, Jason Clark, Chase MacDonald, Michael Holland and Hunter Ward, thought they’d discovered an unknown shipwreck on an Outer Banks beach after Hurricane Sandy had passed, but they later learned it was a documented wreck.

“They plan the next year’s camping calendar,” Ward said. “It’s actually a treat for the boys. It’s a very laid-back weekend for them.”

On a break during one of the three days they were there in November, the boys went exploring on the beach at Buck Island subdivision, where the vacation home is located.

“We started to walk north on the beach and found what appeared to be the hull of an old wooden sailing ship,” Ward said. “They got digging, and sure enough, that’s what it was.”

What appeared to be a keel featured iron spikes that Ward judged would have been hand-forged.

Boys started scooping sand with gusto. After about half an hour, however, a couple of locals happened along and took the wind from their sails.

“Two older gentlemen walked down the beach who live in the community, and they said it’s a documented shipwreck,” Ward said.

“It comes and goes with the storms. They couldn’t recall the name of it, but I believe it was from the mid-1700s.”